Cyrus the Great

Several months ago, when it became obvious that my first and second choices for president wouldn’t make it to the final ballot, Matt said that if Trump made it to the presidency he just hoped he would prove to be a Cyrus. That thought has played in the back of my mind since then.

In case you don’t know who I’m talking about, Cyrus the Great was the man who conquered the Babylonians, and founded the Persian Empire. His accomplishments are epic, but what’s most interesting is that Isaiah prophesied his actions as they would relate to God’s people some 150 years before the fact.

During a very dark period of Israel’s history, the prophet declared in Isaiah 41, “Let the peoples gain new strength; let them come forward, then let them speak; let us come together for judgment. Who has aroused one from the east whom He calls in righteousness to His feet?” And then in chapters 44 & 45 the prophecy gets much more specific. “It is I who says of Cyrus, He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.” “I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor though you have not known Me.”

The Book of Ezra then opens with these words: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, ‘Thus says Cyrus the king of Persia, “The Lord, God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!”’”

Josephus tells us that it was when Cyrus was informed about the prophecies that he was stirred to allow the Jews to return to Judah. It’s even possible that is was Daniel who told him of the prophecies.

I find it encouraging that even though Cyrus’s religious beliefs weren’t the same as Israel’s, the counsel he received from godly men helped him understand how he could be used by God to accomplish His purposes. I hope the same will be true of our next president.

God Bless, Rick

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